We were so excited to get up and head to Ruby Beach this morning. The 2 hour drive up the coast was just beautiful. Everyone absolutely loved playing and exploring at the beach. We all walked barefoot on the sand and enjoyed the low tide and all that we were able to see. We saw lots of starfish and sea anemone. The water was cold at first but eventually became pleasant. The kids loved running in and out of the waves and it wasn't long before everyone was completely soaked from the waist down. At one point Abby actually fell almost all the way in after being knocked over by a wave. It stunned her at first but she was ok. We spent a good couple of hours playing before heading back up the trail to the car. The kids took turns changing into dry clothes before we headed to Sequim to stay with our friends, the Turellas.
It was so good to finally arrive in Sequim and to see our friends. It had been almost 6 years since the last time we were together. The girls loved hanging out with Libby and Claire and the boys loved just relaxing and hanging out with the dog. That night Steve and Kirsti made homemade pizzas and cooked them in their new outdoor pizza oven. They were delicious. After dinner we sat out on the deck and enjoyed the sunset. Our friends have the best view right from their house. It made me happy to be back in Washington.
We left the Seattle area and headed down to Dupont where we used to live so we could play at our old park, walk along the trail behind our old house and see our old neighborhood. The kids loved playing at the park and didn't really want to leave but we headed out on the trail and into the woods we used to call "The Hundred Acre Woods." The trail seemed so much shorter than I had remembered and that is probably because the last time we walked it the kids were much smaller and slower. We walked by the old house and we were surprised at how run down the house and the neighborhood looked. Dupont was definitely in its prime when we lived there. We ended up driving through the rest of Dupont and visited with a friend before leaving and heading to Pacific Beach. When we got to Pacific Beach we actually were able to drive right on the beach and park. We got out and walked along the beach with the kids and some of us definitely got a little wet. There is nothing quite like walking along the beach in the evening.
This morning we got up early and headed to Salish Lodge to eat breakfast and hike down to Snoqualmie Falls. The weather was just as I had remember it...foggy and misty. It was so quaint sitting in the dining area looking out the window at the falls and hearing the fire crackle in the fireplace next to where we were sitting. We treated the kids to the BIG 4 course breakfast and everyone was in complete heaven. The hot chocolate was by far the BEST hot chocolate we have ever tasted. Not only did the chocolate taste good but the homemade whipping cream along with the chocolate shavings on top were delicious. By the time we were done eating everyone felt overly full so we decided to walk off all the calories we ate by hiking down to the falls. The trail had been renovated since the last time we were there almost 8 years ago. Walking down the trail was like walking in the Hoh Rainforest. Everything was SO GREEN and lush. We loved the trail as much, if not more, than we loved the actual falls. Being back on the trail brought back such good memories as Mike and I had spent a few anniversaries at Salish Lodge and had brought the kids here to the falls when they were little.
After leaving Salish Lodge we headed all the way up to Everett to the Boeing Factory for our tour. We got there a bit early so we ate lunch and then some of us actually napped in the car. Our tour of the Boeing factory was quite remarkable. We got to go inside 2 of the 6 enormous hangers where they were actually putting together 747 and 777 planes. We actually learned so much and everyone was quite entertained. After our tour was over we headed down to the hands on part of the Boeing factory were the kids were able to play for a little bit. The little kids really enjoyed pretending to be pilots in the cockpit that they were able to sit in. They loved pushing all the buttons and pulling all the levers. On our way back to our hotel we stopped to eat Japanese food for dinner. It was quite the day.
This morning Mike and I got up and ran a few miles on the Green River trail right outside our hotel. It was a beautiful, sunny day outside. The weather just couldn't have been better. It smelt so fresh and clean outside and our bodies were loving being at sea level with moisture in the air. It just made us miss living in WA even more.
After feeding everyone breakfast and getting ready for the day we all headed up to the city to visit the Pacific Science Center. After getting one of the best parking spots on the street we hopped across the street to get our tickets. We ended up buying the yearly membership because it was cheaper with our military discount than buying individual day passes. With our membership we got 15 IMAX tickets and discounts to their premier IMAX movies. We spent the first part of our morning at The Art of the Brick exhibit. This was probably one of the coolest moving exhibits we have ever been to. The exhibit by artist Nathan Samaya was a collection of inspiring artwork made exclusively out of legos. We were completely amazed by how similar the lego artwork resembled the original artwork. Some of our favorites included the Great Wave off Kanazawa by Hokusai, The Starry Night by Vincent van Gogh, The Mona Lisa by Leonardo da Vinci, The Scream by Edvard Munch, The Thinker sculpture by Rodin, the Moai sculpture which encompassed 75,450 pieces of legos, and the Dinosaur Skeleton made of 80,020 pieces. By far one of our favorite parts inside this exhibit was the hyper-realistic art exhibition "In Pieces" by Nathan Samaya and Dean West where legos are transformed into sculptures depicting everyday moments in Dean West's modern photography. You really have to look close at the photographs to see what is clearly real and what is made out of lego. In the center of the room are the sculptured pieces made out of lego depicted in the various photographs. The red dress photograph was probably our favorite piece. We also enjoyed the portrait pieces at the end of the exhibit. Knowing how great of an artist Mike is I turned to him and told him he could totally do that. How awesome would that be to have a portrait of all our kids made out of legos? After getting through the entire exhibit we all got to write our names on a lego piece and place it on the visitors lego creation table. The kids really liked that.
After the Brick exhibit we headed over to the main part of the Pacific Science Center and went through the other exhibits. On our way back into the main part of the building Andrew rode on the high bike and the other kids spent some time in the mouse wheel before exploring some things in building 3. The kids loved the Body Works section where they raced on the stationary bikes to see how much energy they produced, tested their reaction time, and how hard they could hit with the big fair like hammer. They also enjoyed playing in the Nutrition cafe and putting the fake food on the conveyer belt. The kids probably spent the most time at the Science Playground where they got to work with motors using different inputs and outputs. The girls spent most of their time there while the boys built different creations with the KEVA blocks. It made me realize that you are never too old to play with blocks. After getting through most of the exhibits and eating our lunch outside we all enjoyed watching the National Parks documentary on the IMAX and then watching Finding Dory on the IMAX. Finding Dory was SO GOOD. It was even better watching it on that big screen.
On our way out of the Pacific Science Center we stopped to see the Seattle Space-needle. We opted to not go up in the Space-needle but just enjoyed the view from the bottom. To get a view of the entire city we drove to Beacon Hill to see the Seattle skyline. In the distance we could faintly see Mt. Rainier with all the cloud cover. It was the best view I had ever seen of Seattle and couldn't believe that we hadn't been to this viewpoint before when we lived in the area. It's a good thing we thought it was worth seeing because the traffic getting back to the freeway was such a mess. It made me grateful that I didn't live right in the middle of a big city.
Later that evening we left the kids back at the hotel and headed out to meet some of our longtime friends for dinner. It was so great to see Jen and Dave Wilcox again and to catch up with life. It felt like yesterday that we were eating dinner at their house the night before moving to Japan. That was nearly 6 years ago. Oh my how time has flown by.
If there is anything we have learned from previous trips it is to try and avoid the extremely early flights. Luckily, for our Seattle trip we were able to get on a noon flight which meant we had plenty of time in the morning to do our last minute cleaning before leaving the house. We have also realized it is much faster when we get to the airport if Mike drops all of us off with the bags an then goes to park the car. We got through security pretty fast today and got to the main area of the terminal about the same time as Mike. We spent the short time we had to wait eating lunch. It was probably the best airport lunch we have ever eaten. We ate pizza from Mod Market and crepes from the shop next to it. After finishing in plenty of time we finally boarded our plane headed for Seattle. The plane was extremely hot when we got on. At almost 7 months pregnant I was really struggling with the heat but figured it would get better once we took off. After being in the area for almost 10 minutes and not feeling any cool air I knew I was going to be in trouble. Lots of people were struggling with the heat. A kind stewardess gave me a bag tied with ice in it to wrap around my neck and a cold cloth to put on my forehead. I sat there for about 40 minutes and cooled off with my get up when I noticed that the air in the plane was finally cooling off. The rest of the flight went pretty smoothly. As we neared the Seattle airport we were able to see Mt. Adams and Mt. Rainier from the sky. It was a sunny, clear day which meant we had a clear view of everything below. We also had a great view of the city since we flew over it before turning south to land. After landing at the airport we decided to try the Centurion lounge which we get into for free with our American Express platinum card. We all enjoyed the free drinks, free food, and nice bathrooms. We did't spend a great deal of time in here but just enough to grab a bite to eat and hit the bathroom before going to get our bags. After getting our bags we UBER'd it to Enterprise in Renton to pick up our car. It's amazing how UBER has changed the taxi industry. The man picked us up in a big and clean Suburban and was kind and not at all sketchy. No money exchanged hands since UBER payments are done all online and their ratings is how they keep their jobs. We picked up our minivan at the car rental and headed to the grocery store for a few food items before stopping at the Japanese grocery store for some treats.
After dropping off our stuff at the hotel we headed back in the car and headed into the city to go and eat at Ivars. Mike had been looking forward to eating Ivars for quite some time. Half of us got the clam chowder and the other half got chicken and fries. They all ended up eating some of our clam chowder after realizing that they truly liked clam chowder. After filling quite full, we took a stroll along the waterfront and up to the Public Market. After getting there and realizing that it had already closed we headed back down to where we had parked the car and headed back to our hotel. It had already been such a great day.